CFL nation's Olympic team formidable

Edmonton Eskimos running back Hugh Charles does a back flip after scoring a touchdown against the...

Edmonton Eskimos running back Hugh Charles does a back flip after scoring a touchdown against the BC Lions during the second half of their CFL football game in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 20, 2012. (REUTERS)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:16 PM ET

If the CFL were a nation -- and how diverse would that one be? -- it could send a group of elite athletes to the Summer Olympics and come home with some hardware.

Football requires different types of skills at different positions, just as the Olympic sports have diverse needs with its competitors.

So, we've created a (fictional) Olympic team to compete under the CFL flag. Here are our athletes and their qualifications:

Hugh Charles (gymnastics floor exercise): The dynamic Edmonton Eskimos running back will scores huge points for his signature standing backflip. He's even done the difficult triple, after scoring three times in one game last season against the Calgary Stampeders.

Robert McCune (weightlifting): Nicknamed 'The Hammer' for his bulging muscles, the Toronto Argonauts linebacker will be a contender in both the clean-and-jerk and the snatch. Usually he's lifting opposing linemen off the line of scrimmage, so the bar should be no problem.

Nik Lewis (hurdles): Although speed isn't his game, the Stampeders slotback never gets slowed down by obstacles that don't move. Lewis can easily leap over a low tackle attempt from a defender, even if they are flying towards his legs.

Khalif Mitchell (judo): The 315-pounder might be the only one in his weight class, but that doesn't matter. The Lions defensive tackle has plenty of experience grabbing opponents of equal size and throwing them on their backs. Our main concern is his probable disqualification for illegal tactics.

Jamel Richardson and S.J. Green (synchronized diving): On the football field, it's increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the two Montreal receivers, which is ideal when attempting to remain perfectly in synch. Both have great ability to twist and turn with precision.

Glenn January (diving, boxing): Our only two-sport athlete should make a big splash on the pool deck, as his past experience in diving earned him a qualification. If he fails off the 10-metre platform, the Bombers tackle can take out his aggression in the ring. Based on the punches he's thrown on the football field, he has perfected that right hook.

Henry Burris (javelin): The Ticats quarterback might be this nation's oldest competitor, but there is no doubting his ability to chuck it deep. Without needing to aim in this sport, the 2010 CFL most outstanding player should fight for gold.

Chris Williams (100m sprint): Fighting off the competition from his own nation's qualification races, the speedy Ticats receiver will challenge for the title of world's fastest man -- provided he remembers to run all the way through the finish line.

Kory Sheets (long jump): Just imagine what our medal hopeful can achieve jumping feet-first instead of head-first. The rookie has leapt into the endzone so many times already in his five-game career he should be a shoo-in to make the final at the track.

Brandon Whitaker (balance beam): Every time the Alouettes running back gets near the sidelines, he tip-toes for extra yardage. To keep him focused on the beam, we prepared by sending several grunting men running his way.

Don Oramasionwu (shot put): Years of pushing back against round offensive lineman has prepared this Eskimos defensive tackle well. Tossing a 16-lb. metal ball will seem easy in comparison.

Chad Owens (decathlon): The Argos receiver does a little bit of everything well, and he's shown that stamina isn't a problem. The Flyin' Hawaiian has a combination of speed, strength and fearlessness that makes him ideal to battle away in 10 different events.

QBs NEED REFRESHER

Gather around for this week's sermon on ball protection by quarterbacks.

Darian Durant, what are you doing here again? Weren't you listening last week?

Good to see you again Steven Jyles. It's been a while.

What was it this time? Oh yes. Fumbling inside field-goal range with a one-point deficit and less than a minute left on the clock.

And you Mr. Durant?

You were told a week ago not to throw into double coverage inside your own zone. The Calgary Stampeders gift basket arrived late, but the one from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats came right on time.

After handing over some momentum to the Ticats Saturday, letting the hated Henry Burris and Andy Fantuz complete a 19-point comeback at Mosaic Stadium, what do you have to say for yourself?

"We should be 5-0, if you want to be completely honest," Durant said about his 3-2 Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"We're not making enough plays and they're making the plays in the fourth quarter."

The Stampeders should actually be sending another gift basket to Riders' Regina offices, and one up to Edmonton as well.

If Jyles had not lost the handle on the ball, after a well-timed hit from Blue Bombers rookie defensive tackle Jake Thomas, the Eskimos could be 4-1.

Had Durant not given the Stamps life with a late interception to Malik Jackson a week earlier, then coughed up a fumble to the Ticats, they could be four wins up on Calgary in the West Division.

As it stands, the Stampeders went reeling into the bye week, but they are at least still only one game out of first place while sitting in last.

A couple of careless plays are the difference. Make it stop.

Class dismissed.

PAIR CHALLENGING PINBALL

Don't worry Pinball Clemons. Mike Benevides has your back.

If Larry Taylor challenges the former Toronto Argonauts returner/receiver's single-season record for all-purpose yardage, it will be because the Calgary Stampeder is burning other teams in the CFL, not the B.C. Lions.

Last week in Calgary, under direction of their head coach, the Lions kicked away from Taylor as carefully as possible, even going as far as squibbing all the kickoffs down the middle of the field.

Now all Benevides needs to do is continue that this weekend against the Toronto Argonauts and their all-purpose specialist.

Through five games, both Taylor and Chad Owens are on pace to challenge Clemons' 3,840 yards set in 1997. If Owens tops 3,000 yards, he would be the first player in history to do it three years in a row.

If things continue the way they are going, Owens would finish with 4,647 yards, while Taylor would get 4,075.

Both would be record-breaking numbers, so it will be up to opposing teams to stop them.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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